The De Hoek Mountain Resort and Calitzdorp Spa. Photo Facebook

Cape Town – The Calitzdorp Spa property at the centre of a land dispute belongs to the Kannaland Municipality, the Department of Rural Development and Land Reform (DRDLR) has clarified.

This follows the Garden Route District Municipality (GRDM) entering into a long-term lease agreement with a financial firm to manage and operate De Hoek Mountain Resort and Calitzdorp Spa.

Claimants had vowed to fight for their ancestral land following an announcement by the municipality about the lease with financial firm LEN24.

They have objected to the agreement pending their land claim while the Kannaland municipality sought legal advice arising from uncertainty about which municipality owned the property.

The DRDLR said that the De Hoek Mountain Resort and Calitzdorp Spa land in fact belonged to the Kannaland Municipality.

LEN24 was awarded the tender in April and forms part of the ISCC Group of Companies, which included New York-based Ithuba Savings and Credit.

The investment company’s plans for the land included luxury and deluxe chalets, a golf course, virtual reality arcade, a railway system, creating a lake, and the reintroduction of ecologically friendly flora and fauna.

Ithuba Investments co-owner Emiley Vollmer said the company learned only through the media about the land claim dispute and that no agreement had in fact been signed.

“We had followed due process in terms of making our submissions for the tender to the GRDM and were unaware of land claims or owners,” she said.

Land claimant Kitty Jacobs, who said her great-grandfather Plaaitjie Prins discovered the hot springs on the land that would become the Calitzdorp Spa, was not available for comment yesterday.

Independent Civic Organisation of South Africa councillor Werner Moshua said that the Kannaland Municipality representative on the GRDM had not provided any report on the land being tendered for lease or that the investment company tendering had been successful.

Kannaland municipality spokesperson Ian Avontuur said he would issue a statement today.

GRDM spokesperson Marlene Nqumse did not respond to questions by deadline.

Cape Times